Sensitive, thin wind deposits sit above Monday's crust. This setup seems the most likely candidate to be problematic with tomorrow's loading, followed by slick, icy crusts on steep, sun-exposed slopes.
Overcast skies by 10:00 AM. Wind was light at middle elevations until about 11:00 AM then plumes of blowing snow were observed along the Soldier Crest and in exposed middle elevations. Only a few flakes fell while I was there but snow appeared to start in the W. Smokys as early as 11:00 AM.
I had a good view of the Soldiers and saw no sign of recent avalanche activity. I did see a few medium-sized cornice breaks at upper elevations, but they did not initiate a slab.
The snowpack here is highly variable. Elevations up to ~7,500' held a substantial ambient temp melt-freeze crust at the surface. Above this, stout crusts continued up to and beyond 8,500' on steep, sunny slopes. All of these crusts had facets associated with them. Shaded slopes above 7,500' were "crust free" near the surface but starting to facet as well.
Most slopes have seen extensive wind sculpting. Stiff slabs exist near the surface and in the mid-pack on most slopes. Facet layers were very well developed in more sheltered terrain both in the middle of the snowpack and near the ground.
N-facing, 8,400', HS = 150 cm:
150-135 F, DF
135-124 4F, FC ---ECTN28 down 26 cm (2/11?)
124-70 F+ to 1F, FC
40-39 Decomposing crust
39-10 F, DH (3 mm), dry December facet layer
10-0 4F-, DH
Layer Depth/Date: 20-70 cm
Comments: There were 2-3 generations of wind slab that looked to have formed over the last 10 days. The older slabs were anywhere from 4F to 1F+ and up to 70 cm thick. These broke when pulling on the block but were stubborn where I found them. A thin layer of wind slab (<30 cm) was touchy where it sat atop Monday's temp/sun crust.
Both of these layers also sit on PWL's, so I suppose you could call them persistent slabs. I'd guess that additional loading on the shallower fresh slabs over the crust will behave more like a persistent slab if this storm materializes.
I avoided avalanche terrain.